Alabama Softball Opens With Win

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. -- Alabama softball is one of the nation's most dominant programs. But the Crimson Tide had a bad habit of getting off to a bad start in Women's College World Series games. That changed in a big way for the Crimson Tide on Thursday.

Alabama, the second seed in this year's national championship tournament, had the honor of playing in the opening game against California. The Crimson Tide of Coach Patrick Murphy has had excellent pitching most of the year, and got it in spades Thursday.

Alabama senior Kelsi Dunne and freshman Jackie Traina combined to allow just one hit to down seventh seeded Cal, 1-0, Thursday afternoon at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium.

Bama moves into the winners' bracket with a 52-9 record this season.

Dunne baffled the Golden Bears hitters all afternoon with her movement and wide array of pitches before relenting to the freshman Traina, who struck out two in the final frame to earn her third save of the season and second in the postseason.

Dunne (28-4) went six innings and allowed one hit and walked one while striking out a WCWS career-high 11 batters. Dunne eclipsed the 1,200 strikeout mark for her career, moving to 24th on the NCAA career strikeout list.

In her first collegiate at-bat at the WCWS, freshman Kaila Hunt lined a 2-2 pitch down the line in left to score pinch-runner Keima Davis with two outs in the second inning. Junior Amanda Locke started off the frame with an infield single to short and then Davis did the rest as she stole second and third before coming home on the hit.

Sophomore Kayla Braud and Locke paced the Tide at the plate with two hits apiece.

The shutout was just the second on the season for Cal and the one hit equaled its lowest output on the year.

Alabama will play the winner of 11th seed Baylor and Oklahoma State. The contest is scheduled to begin on Friday at 6 p.m. CDT on ESPN.

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